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A visit to Kensington Palace: is it worth it? Ever since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated with the royal family and royal weddings. Even to this day, I still love keeping up with them. I will never forget when I heard the tragic news of Princess Diana’s death. I was at my grandparent’s lake house, sitting on the couch catty corner to the TV, and I remember seeing the news out of the corner of my eye on the TV. I was only 8 or so, but it definitely is something that impacted me. I even had the “rare” (which was not really rare) Princess Diana Beanie Baby. If you’re a 90s kid like me, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
When planning our London trip, Kensington Palace was a must-do for us. Although I’m not a huge history buff, I do love anything royal. When booking our hotel, we even made sure to stay close to Kensington Palace. When I planned the trip, I knew I wanted to at least walk the grounds. Luckily we had extra time, so we decided to do a self-guided tour. Kensington Palace houses the Orangery Tea Room, which came highly recommended. I also knew I wanted to do an afternoon tea in London, so as soon as we checked into our hotel, the concierge helped us book a reservation.
Prices:If you book online you save 10% off. We did not book online due to not knowing what our schedule would be like. Please note, there are two price options: one with a donation and one without.
- Adults: 17.50 pounds without a donation or 19.30 pounds with
- Child: 8.70 pounds without a donation or 9.60 with
What to Wear to Visit the Palace:
When visiting the palace, I wanted to wear something conservative and proper. I also knew we had several other stops on our agenda for the day, so I wanted to wear something practical/comfortable. This preppy collar dress screamed London to me, so I had to order it. I paired it with this preppy Kate Spade cardigan, since it was chilly in London. I originally started with heel booties, but luckily I did bring some tennis shoes in a bag. Before touring the palace, there is a spot where you can check extra bags. I checked the bag with my booties and we were off to tour. There is a lot of walking involved, so I highly recommend comfortable shoes.
About Kensington Palace:
Kensington Palace is the birthplace of Queen Victoria and has been home to young royals for over 300 years. The beautiful grounds feature the Kensington Garden and a memorial playground for Princess Diana. The garden area was under construction, since it’s not quite spring in London yet. It still was beautiful though.
About the Tour:
When you take a self-guided tour, you’re able to see the king’s state apartment and the queen’s state apartment, beautiful royal jewels, and even one of Princess Diana’s gowns. Even the ceilings were gorgeous. We almost missed the jewels and I am glad we didn’t. It was the best part in my opinion. You can also see costumes from the recent film “The Favourite”. I did research and found out that, while it was not filmed at Kensington Palace, several of the scenes are supposed to be set in actual rooms you can see at Kensington. I actually watched this film on the flight home and it was excellent. If you like anything related to the royal family, it’s a must watch.
How Long Should You Spend There?
The website says that most people spend about 90 minutes there. I would say to go through the exhibits you need about an hour to fully enjoy it and not feel rushed. We probably spent 2.5 hours on the palace grounds, including brunch.
Tea at The Orangery:
We started our visit to Kensington Palace with tea at The Orangery. I didn’t realize this until I wrote this post, but the Orangery was built for Anne, who became queen when William died. Anne used The Orangery for parties and entertaining. The Orangery is on the palace grounds, just a short walk from the entrance to tour the main palace. I don’t know if reservations are required, but I highly recommend getting one. Our reservation was at 11:00 a.m., so it wasn’t crowded, but I feel like it’s probably crowded a little later. When you visit London, you must try tea. Jake and I had actually just had a latte and snack, so I wasn’t that hungry. I did the children’s tea and it was the perfect size while only being about half the price of the adult portion. It came with tea of course, tea sandwiches, and little desserts. Jake, on the other hand, refused to try tea (he hates tea), so he ordered a Pepsi and regular brunch food. His food was especially excellent; he had a ham and cheese croissant, as well as scrambled eggs with maple syrup-covered bacon. The Orangery is under construction right now, but it didn’t detract from the experience. On the day we visited, the winds were insane, blowing about 25 mph at least and you could see/hear the temporary roof blowing, but it was comfortable inside and didn’t affect anything.
To answer my first question: is it worth it? I absolutely do think it’s worth it. When we go back to London someday, I probably won’t tour it again, but I would definitely visit the grounds and go back for tea. I did notice in London that a lot of the major attraction and palaces are close to each other. Stay tuned, on Thursday I will share part 3 of my London Diaries blog series. This will be my final London Diaries series post, and I will share a full London guide post soon after that.